CHANIA, Greece – June 2, 2001- The United States Women’s National Water Polo Team was victorious in both of its matches today as they defeated the Netherlands, 12-3, in the morning and the Canadian Women in the afternoon, 6-5, at the Thetis Cup, in Chania, Greece. This afternoon’s semi-final overtime victory against the Canadians advances the Olympic silver medallist, U.S. to the championship game on Sunday against the current World Champion, Italian team.
This morning in front of a capacity crowd, the United States women showed why they are one of the top teams in the world as they dominated the Dutch in a victory that had eight different U.S. players score a goal. The U.S.A./Dutch game began with a barrage of first quarter goals by the U.S. that would put the Americans up 3-0 at the end of the first period of play. Brenda Villa (Commerce, Ca/ Stanford ’02), one of the world’s most efficient scorers, netted the first goal and began team U.S.A.’s display of offensive prowess. Shortly thereafter, Erika Lorenz (San Diego, Ca/ Cal ’04) added the second goal for the U.S. on a power play opportunity, while Rachel Scott (Bainbridge Island, WA / San Diego State ’02) scored the third goal.
At the start of the second period, the Netherlands struck first as Ljada Rodenhuis scored her only goal of the game and broke the ice for the Dutch. However, it would be the U.S. defense, led by Nicole Payne (Cerritos, CA / UCLA ’02) that would prevent the Netherlands from scoring again in the first half. As the U.S. continued their attack, Brenda Villa scored her second goal of the contest during a power play, while Americans Heather Moody (Green River, WY/ San Diego State ’02) and Courtney Johnson (Salt Lake City, UT/ Cal’ 96) each tossed in a goal to give the U.S. a 6-1 lead at the half.
When play resumed in the second half, the U.S. again came out firing and went on to outscore the Netherlands 6-2 before the game would end. Coralie Simmons (Hemet, CA/ UCLA ’02) scored two of the Americans six second half goals in the third quarter. While the other four goals were scored by Ashley Stachowski (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA / UCLA ‘03), Margie Dingeldien, and Erica Lorenz and Courtney Johnson who each finished the game with two goals apiece. In what was a runaway victory for Team U.S.A., the American women were in top form and seemed to be playing their best water polo just in time for their semi-final match-up against the Canadians.
The Women’s National Team played its second game of the day against continent rival Canada in a semi-final match that would eventually end in overtime. The game’s entire first half was a defensive struggle between the teams as the U.S. would be the only squad to score before halftime, with one goal in the second period. As the second half began, the action in the water began to heat up as each team would score two goals in the third period, making the score 3-2 in favor of Team U.S.A. In the fourth quarter it was the Canadians who outscored the Americans 2-1 and would tie the game at 4-4 before regulation time had expired, sending the game to overtime. When the first of two overtime periods began, the American women jumped out to a lead making the score, 5-4 before the Canadians scored again in the second overtime period to again tie the game. With the score even at 5-5, Erika Lorenz would score her second goal of the contest with 19 seconds left in the second overtime period. The goal by Lorenz put the U.S. up 6-5 and would prove to be the game winner and final goal of the match.
The Olympic silver medal winning U.S. women will face off against the Italian Women’s National Team, the reigning World Champions, in the championship final of the 2001 Thetis Cup on Sunday.
– The Thetis Cup Competition is the first week of training for many of the U.S. team’s athletes who did not compete in this years women’s collegiate season. The women’s national team has not trained together since the Olympic games in Sydney, Australia.
– Olympic goalkeeper Bernice Orwig (Fullerton, CA/ USC ’99) has moved to Michigan where she is assistant coach women’s water polo coach at the University of Michigan. Like many of her teammates, Bernie has not trained with the national team since the Olympics.
– Missing from the U.S. Women’s National team roster at this years Thetis Cup are Ellen Estes, Maureen O’Toole, and Robin Beauregard. Estes and O’Toole have retired since the Olympic games while Beauregard is currently on injured reserve.
– Following the Thetis Cup, Team USA and Australia will compete in the Canada Cup held in Montreal June 6th-11th before facing each other in a four-game match up in the International Challenge exhibition series June 12-17. The International Challenge will be held in Fresno, Roseville (Sacramento), Berkeley and Palo Alto, California.